Monday, October 12, 2009

What Moustache?

I sported a moustache for many, many years. (I had it continuously, except for a period of about two weeks, which, weirdly enough, was about the time I met my wife.) moustache

About eight months ago, I shaved it off. Sure, the kids were a little freaked out (Ahh! Who's the stranger in the kitchen?), but I didn't look back. Not then, not now.

I don't miss my hairy upper lip at all.

I'm like that about a lot of things (people are a different matter). Once they're gone, I don't seem to miss them. Maybe I'm simple and don't remember things once they leave my sphere of attention. Maybe I'm a soulless, cold-hearted human being. Whatever. I never really get emotionally attached to things.

The same holds true for my writing. During the revision process, if I get rid of a character, I don't give it a second thought. Ditto for a subplot or a surprise twist or a particularly clever scene. If the story is better off without those elements, out comes the hatchet. And I never look back. I'm a serial killer of my darlings, with no regrets.

How about you? Do you miss those characters, scenes, and plotlines that don't make the cut? Or are you a soulless SOB like me?


Photo credit: Rajesh Rajan, Photographer, UMS, Muscat, Oman



Lori said...

I find that if I cut out a character, scene, etc. and I immediately replace it with another, then there's (relativelyl little) love lost. I become immersed in the newly-developed scene and it's really exciting to ride that wave for awhile. More exciting than trying to plug the hole of a sinking ship!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

If I have any regrets, it's only because I've killed a character I'd enjoy using in the future. So I just cannibalize the character and change him into someone new. That sounds kind of awful!

No, I try to stay a bit emotionally detached from my WIPs. Hard at first, but easier when editing and reviewing happens.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Anonymous said...

I'd have to agree with Elizabeth, actually. I sometimes feel bad because I've really liked a particular scene, character, or dialogue exchange, but in reality, the improvements to the final product really are worth what has to get "axed." Sometimes, though, I'll save an idea or character and put it in my idea file for future writing.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Mostly it doesn't bother me to delete something or someone from a manuscript. I just killed off a character, and when my critique group gets that chapter they will be shocked. I, on the other hand, think it's a cool move.

Except now that I've read Elizabeth's answer, I wonder if I could have used him in another story. Of course, I could always write him into a prequel. LOL

Elspeth Futcher said...

It depends on the character(s) and the situation(s). Sometimes I'm pleased to let them go because they were a pain and I knew it wasn't very well written. Sometimes, I mourn; but I cut because I acknowledge the story is better without them.


Alan Orloff said...

Wow. For the most part, you all are cold-hearted and unsentimental, at least when it comes to revisions.

I like that.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Souless. Almost always, the book is better after the chopping. Not sure why that is. Maybe I just write crap the first time through and only under repeated, and I mean repeated, revision does it seem to sharpen and gain focus. So, not afraid to chap/slash/burn/lay waste/massacre, or otherwise do in stuff…be it characters or plot. The reward? As I said, it’s normally better..

Best Regards, Galen

Oooooh, cool. My spam word is Pulguis. Is that French? Pronounced, pull-guh-we?

Imagineering Fiction Blog

Anonymous said...

One of my problems is developing an emotional attachment with characters. I amd editing a particular chapter at the request of a potential agent. About 15 percent of the words have been slcied and diced.

I have to admit, the chaptr now reads much better. Its tight and flows freely. Sometimes you need that second set of eyes to give you constructive feed back.

Stephen Tremp

Unknown said...

Alan I enjoy your posts so much! You have a wonderful talent of wording things in such a way that makes whatever you're focusing on entertaining to read.

I really love reading the blogs of you writers. It's so interesting to have an insider view of your side of the process...